Govt removes cap on MSP purchases of 3 pulses

Sandip Das

The government has removed the procurement ceiling of 40% of total marketable surplus for tur, urad and masur under the Price Support Scheme (PSS). Curiously, the move comes when elevated prices of three varieties forced the government to impose stock limits for urad and tur last week.Actual MSP purchases of these three pulses by Nafed, the official procurement agency, has been minimal in the last couple of years.      

“The assured procurement of these pulses by the government at remunerative prices will help motivate the farmers to enhance sowing area in the upcoming kharif and rabi sowing seasons,” according to an official statement on Tuesday.Sources said that because of robust demand and domestic shortfall, Nafed has unable to procure substantial quantity of these pulses varieties from the farmers under PSS. The government has been importing these varieties of pulses to meet domestic demand.

The purpose of PSS was to ensure stability in prices as well as provide MSP to farmers specifically meant for pulses, oilseed and cotton growers.According to estimates, the country imports around 15% of its annual pulses consumption. The agriculture ministry has estimated pulses production in the 2022-23 crop year at a record 27.7 million tonne (MT). To curb hoarding and speculation amid rising prices, the government last week had imposed limits on the stocks of tur and urad dal.The stock limit is applicable to a range of entities such as wholesalers to retailers, millers and importers. The order will be effective till October 31.

The government has imposed a ceiling of 200 tonne per pulse type for wholesalers and five tonne for retailers, with big-chain retailers permitted five tonne at each outlet and a maximum of 200 tonne in total.“The imposition of stock limits on tur and urad dal is another step in the consistent efforts taken by the government to crack down on prices of essential commodities,” according to an official statement.

Last month, the department of consumer affairs asked pulse importers to expedite shipment of tur and urad varieties from Myanmar to improve domestic supplies.In a meeting held with importers, the department has said that if imports of pulses do not ease, the government would consider government-to-government deals with Myanmar. Sources said some importers have been deliberately slow in importing pulses from Myanmar, in their bid to jack up domestic prices.

This article has been republished from The Financial Express

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